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Game Info:

Breakpoint
Developed by: Studio Aesthesia
Published by: The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Released: September 24, 2020
Available on: Windows, Nintendo Switch
Genre: Arcade Action
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone (Mild Fantasy Violence)
Number of Players: 1, online leaderboards
Price: $4.99

Thanks to The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild for sending us a review copy!

Breakpoint is an arcade twin-stick “shooter” set in an arena of bright neon shapes that will no doubt draw comparisons to the highly esteemed Geometry Wars games. What sets this game apart is that it trades in the standard guns for an array of melee weapons, inherently putting the player a lot closer to the action.

Gone is the standard issue rapid-fire blaster. As you pixelate the infinite swarm of geometrical constructs, they occasionally drop other weapons. The hammer swings slower but deals the most damage; the daggers are short ranged but very fast; the lance has the longest reach and can punch through swarms to hit important targets; the axe has the widest swing arc; and the sword is the all-rounder of the lot. While your attacks have a limited range, it’s very easy to hit and kill multiple enemies in a single swing, especially if you finesse your aiming during the attack animation. Weapons also have a heavy swing which knocks away tougher enemies. I ended up taking the daggers or lance whenever they were available, mainly for their fast attack speeds.

Breakpoint
Highlights:

Strong Points: Unique focus on melee in a twin-stick shooter; built-in replay function
Weak Points: Only one game mode
Moral Warnings: Geometrical violence

Enemies drop score multipliers and charge gems on death. Score multipliers are pretty straightforward, you’ll need them in your quest for a top score. Charge gems will charge your weapon up to three times. With each level of charge, you gain the ability to throw your weapon with the left trigger (and resetting its charge), and your weapon will improve. It’s only temporary though; as soon as you reach the first level of charge, a Break bar appears around your ship; each attack thereafter counts down to a Break. On the last hit, your weapon reaches its breaking point, dispersing all the gathered charge energy in a large explosion. Throwing your weapon is a great way to trigger a Break in the middle of a large swarm. As a player who relies on primary weapons and constantly forgets about bombs and other such special weapons, I very much appreciate the Breakpoint mechanic – it’s like having a recharging bomb that automatically activates when most appropriate. I enjoyed the constant tension of deciding whether to hold a charge for a superior attack or throw it for an immediate explosion.

Breakpoint has a neat cast of enemy shapes all ready to swarm the arena. It starts with small swarms of basic Darts slowly moving towards you, tough Bruisers that can take a beating, and Shooters firing around randomly. Later on there are more interesting enemies. Deadeyes shoot at you from a short range and run away when pursued, making the Lance a very good counter. Riders leave behind a (non-deadly) wall to fence you in. Wards are immune to regular attacks, and Bunkers are immune to Breaks. Guardians protect everything around them and are truly a nightmare to contend with when paired with the basic Dart enemy. Like any good shooter, these enemies all create their own little ballet with the player, compounding in a wonderfully complex capoeira. Beyond the geometrical violence, there are no moral concerns. Kids can enjoy this as much as anyone else.

Breakpoint
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay – 17/20
Graphics – 7/10
Sound – 8/10
Stability – 5/5
Controls – 5/5

Morality Score - 94%
Violence – 7/10
Language – 10/10
Sexual Content – 10/10
Occult/Supernatural – 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical – 10/10

On top of all this, every run is recorded and can be replayed later, and you can also watch replays of other players via the leaderboard. After playing for a while, I returned to the main menu and discovered that I had somehow unlocked a Hard mode. This was a fun change of pace. Instead of slowly building up the action, you’re tossed right into the thick of it. All the enemies can spawn from the outset, and you skip right past the first few boring minutes.

The graphics are gorgeous for what they are, and it is entirely fair to compare Breakpoint to Geometry Wars here – it has most certainly earned the right to that comparison. Enemies break up colorfully into their component lines on death, like a party sparkler burning away. The arena’s visuals beat to the rhythm of the adrenaline-pumping soundtrack. The intensity and pacing of the aesthetics only dulls momentarily to sell the Break explosions. One thing that Breakpoint doesn’t mimic from Geometry Wars is the warping of the background hex grid, which makes the field a lot clearer to read; I was extremely grateful for this “lower” graphical detail.

There’s a lot to like about this arcade title. From the neon colors to the electronic soundtrack, every Breakpoint triggered is a satisfying mini-catharsis to the constant chaos. If you like twin-stick shooters but want something a little different, this game is an easy recommend at $4.99.

About the Author

Elvin Ong

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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